Al Sharpton and Larry Wilmore Mock Hillary and Bernie’s Black Voter Pandering

Straight outta ‘Black Headquarters,’ the Reverend addresses Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton’s attempts to pander to black voters.

02.24.16 5:41 AM ET

The Democratic Party’s South Carolina primary is just days away and black voters are expected to be the deciding factor in the race. So, according to The Nightly Show’s Larry Wilmore, that “means we get to watch Democratic candidates kiss some black ass.”

Yes, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have spent much of the last few weeks “pandering” to black voters. Sanders has Killer Mike and Spike Lee on his side, while Clinton has the literal voice of God, Morgan Freeman, not to mention the tacit support of President Obama.  

But at the same time, they have had their slip-ups. As Wilmore demonstrated, Sanders tends to act like he just discovered institutional racism and when Clinton was asked which black voters she was targeting, she answered, “As many as possible!”

“Hillary, just a little tip,” Wilmore said in response, “when talking about targeting black people, you probably shouldn't say ‘as many as possible.’”

For more analysis, Wilmore turned to “Black Headquarters,” where his writers were struggling to keep up with “the blackest Black History Month ever.” They needed some help from the night’s guest, Reverend Al Sharpton, who weighed in on the question of whether it is appropriate for Clinton and Sanders to feature family members of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner in their campaign ads.

“You’re asking is it OK to provide comfort to victims’ families and shine light on atrocities previously kept in the dark?” Sharpton asked. “Heck, yeah.” But still, he would not give his endorsement to one Democrat over the other.

Later, during the panel discussion, Sharpton said that if Sanders “addresses the issues and can convince people that they can trust that he will enact them,” then he does have a realistic chance of taking the black vote away from Clinton.

Of Clinton’s black critics, Sharpton said they are mostly focusing on issues from her husband’s administration that she has since said were “mistakes.” But rather than coming to speak to black voters about narrow issues, Sharpton said he wished the candidates would take a broader approach. “I think that by just talking to us like, oh, you have these set problems, like we're different, is really in many ways condescending.”

One thing Sharpton would not do is criticize President Obama’s treatment of African Americans. “What I’m tired of is everybody downing the brother,” he said. “If he came out of the White House tomorrow and walked on the Potomac River, some people would say, ‘Told you the brother couldn’t swim.’”

“I’m going to tell you something,” Sharpton concluded. “If you want to know how Bernie or Hillary will get the black vote and every other vote, let Trump be the nominee.”